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Saturday, April 27, 2013

George W Bush addresses why he went to war

US President Barack Obama joined all his living predecessors this week to dedicate the George W Bush Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

The Coalition of the Willing now acknowledges that George W Bush over-reacted to 9/11 by invading Iraq.  When he asked his friends for help, we responded willingly and sent our troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.  At the time, it seemed reasonable, the free world was being attacked and we had to do something to help stop it, but since then, we've had time to reflect and had a change of heart.

Now George W Bush has asked the American people to tell him what they would have done under the same circumstances.  There is an interactive theatre within the new library that shows the visitor videos of what his advisers told him on the lead up to his decision to invade and he puts the question - what would you have done?  He also addresses the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq but adds "post invasion inspections confirmed that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to "resume production of WMD." 

It took a long time to finally realize that sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan was a bad idea, and we must hang onto the positive ideal that our presence there has made it a better place, otherwise all lives lost count for naught.

This week we learn that Afghanistan has suffered a troubling rise in killing of civilians with the figure surging to 30 per cent in the first three months of this year, according to a UN envoy.

I suspect that President Obama's reluctance to intervene in the Syrian slaughter has a lot to do with President Bush's quick reaction to 9/11. We can only hope he will stay out of it and not try to enforce American values on anyone else because we now know it doesn't work.

But there's another important reason we don't want President Obama to rush into another war, it's because the US and Australia are joined at the hip, and always will be.

Ex Prime Minister John Howard is good friends with George W and is seen here receiving the President's Medal of Freedom - the US's highest civilian award.